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Livestock in the agrifood
systems transformation
FAO Global Conference on Sustainable Livestock Transformation:
Better production, better nutrition, better environment, better life
25 September 2023
Jimmy Smith
Director of International Programs in Agriculture & Natural Resources
University of Maryland, College Park
Part One
Three Caveats
We need to make better use of diversity
• Our reference to ‘livestock’ masks the fact
that several species and commodities
produced in several ecologies and
production systems is the reality --The
world’s livestock systems
are exceptionally diverse
• Every livestock species, system
and socioeconomic context
present very different challenges
and opportunities
for transformation
Thus
• There is no one
‘livestock transformation’
that we’re working towards
• Rather, we must move on
a broad front towards many
transformations
We need to make better use of systems thinking
• Replace disciplinary silos
with cross- and trans-
disciplinary thinking and work
• Tackle whole systems,
attending to interconnections,
trade-offs and synergies
Because
• With their manifold impacts,
livestock offer
‘multi-solving solutions’
• When it comes to livestock,
livestock systems thinking
is just smart thinking
We need to make better speed
• We have to work faster
as well as better
• Our past discrete successes
are not adding up to global
livestock transformation
Request
• Let each of us consider
what we need
to do differently in future
• And what we need
to prioritize . . .
• We should work and
communicate in a more
connected way
Part Two
Transforming
what we do
Better production
We need more livestock production
to meet global growing food
and nutritional needs
By 2050, food production will have
to double to feed 9.2 billion people,
with:
• 2.3 times more poultry meat
• 1.7 times more other meat, and
• 1.6 times more milk
than in 2010
Imagine that we can . . .
Meet the growing demand with fewer
ruminants
• Marry technological and policy
innovations to bring about highly
efficient and ecologically
sound livestock production
• Rapidly increase the productivity of
livestock in developing countries
• Introducing climate smart breeds and
feeds
• Reduce the endemic disease burden of
livestock
• Prevent zoonotic diseases
• Prove the predictions on AMR wrong
Better nutrition
Animal source foods contribute
between 30-40% of the world’s
protein on a per capita
basis…..most of it produced from
feed substrates that had no other
use.
• High concentration of
bioavailable nutrients
• Most important dietary source
of B12, bioavailable iron and
preferred vitamin A
• Proven contributions to brain,
muscle and skeletal
development
Why then do livestock get such a
bad name?
Imagine that we can . . .
Simultaneously address the
double burden of too little
consumption of milk, meat
and eggs by poorer people
and too much consumption
of them by richer people
Imagine that we can . . .
Lower the intolerably high
burden of foodborne diseases in lower
income countries, in particular
We can and must make animal source foods from informal markets
safer
--as this is the source of most of the food in developing countries--
Better environments
The issues include the carbon footprint of
livestock, land degradation, pollution and
nutrient loading, among others.
--but the effect on climate cuts both ways--
Increasing livestock production efficiencies will
support, but not be sufficient to mitigate the
effect on climate change. Much more is needed
In addition to vastly increasing productivity, imagine
that we can …….
• Spread worldwide regenerative practices that also increase the profitability
of (circular) mixed farming systems that feed soils as well as people and
animals
• Curtail air and water pollution, and nutrient loading generated by intensive
production systems while also enhancing animal welfare
• Restore vast grazing lands through use of low-cost participatory
(community-led) rangeland management that produces judicious grazing
and land use planning, captures more carbon, protects more biodiversity
and provides pastoralists with more resilience and prosperity
Better lives
The better lives we’re after include
not only the 1.7 billion people
whose livelihoods—as producers,
processors, transporters or
retailers—depend on livestock, and
not only the many more billions
who consume meat, milk and eggs,
but also the vegetarians and others
who do not consume livestock-
source foods, as well as the lives of
the animals that we raise to
nourish and sustain through their
foods and many inputs to
sustainable crop production
• Improve both animal and human welfare for better lives
• Use livestock in optimal ways to better lives everywhere and in manifold
ways
• Help families to grow their livestock assets in ways that generate lasting—
multi-generational—benefits
• Ensure that livestock value chains are inclusive and fair as well as efficient
and profitable
Imagine that we can . . .
Get to the next level on :
Empowering women and generating more youth employment
Getting to the next level: Liveable and habitable futures?
Recognizing the cultural value
and contributions
Part Three
Transforming
how we work
Animals for transformation
It is immutable that
food-producing animals
are or could be multi-
functioning, multi-
functional assets for
healthier livelihoods,
diets, environments and
people—all contributing
to sustainable food
systems transformation
through their essential
roles in the ‘four betters’
Wealth of opportunities
I hope the case is made that the
diversity matters
• livestock uses and benefits
• livestock species and systems
• livestock peoples and cultures
These provide us with a wealth
of avenues for engendering
the fairer, safer, healthier
and more prosperous world
that we all want
Some challenges—for each of us here today
To help effect these livestock transformations, each one of us is going to have to:
• Broaden our dialogues, connecting and delivering in ways we’ve never done before
• Engage more, and more effectively, with the non-livestock world
• Work across diverse livestock sectors and disciplines, and in both rich and poor
countries
• Reach consumers as well as producers, and address cultural as well as socioeconomic
issues
Getting out of our comfort zone
With livestock remaining
• the most neglected
• the most under-funded and
• the most misunderstood subsector
of agriculture today
and with the many ‘polycrises’ demanding the world’s attention,
livestock transformation is a tall order
What we aspirate to can and must be done ….but only if
we communicate more and better
Image credits
Slide 5: Farm manager by Equity UK
Slide 7: Brown Swiss cows by Don Shall
Slide 8: A fitbit for cows by Agri Expo Dot Online
Slide 14: Cow and sheep by Lollie-Pop
Slide 15: Togo family groceries by World Bank
Slide 16: Hmong grandmother and child
by Rod Waddington
Slide 17: Kenya dairy woman with her cow
by East African Dairy Development project
Slide 18: Cambodian farm couple
by WorldBank-Chhor Sokunthea
Slide 19: Farm girl with cow (photographer
unknown), Indian cook by Steve Evans
Slide 22: Cambodian man feeding livestock
improved forages by CIAT-NeilPalmer
Slide 23: Landsat satellite by NASA
Slide 24: Argentinan merino sheep
by IFPRI-Milo Mitchell
Slide 25: Tanzanian Maasai shop keeper
by UN-Women-DeepikaNath
All others from ILRI
Thank you
Contact
Jimmy Smith
jsmit122@umd.edu

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Livestock in the agrifood systems transformation

  • 1. Livestock in the agrifood systems transformation FAO Global Conference on Sustainable Livestock Transformation: Better production, better nutrition, better environment, better life 25 September 2023 Jimmy Smith Director of International Programs in Agriculture & Natural Resources University of Maryland, College Park
  • 3. We need to make better use of diversity • Our reference to ‘livestock’ masks the fact that several species and commodities produced in several ecologies and production systems is the reality --The world’s livestock systems are exceptionally diverse • Every livestock species, system and socioeconomic context present very different challenges and opportunities for transformation Thus • There is no one ‘livestock transformation’ that we’re working towards • Rather, we must move on a broad front towards many transformations
  • 4. We need to make better use of systems thinking • Replace disciplinary silos with cross- and trans- disciplinary thinking and work • Tackle whole systems, attending to interconnections, trade-offs and synergies Because • With their manifold impacts, livestock offer ‘multi-solving solutions’ • When it comes to livestock, livestock systems thinking is just smart thinking
  • 5. We need to make better speed • We have to work faster as well as better • Our past discrete successes are not adding up to global livestock transformation Request • Let each of us consider what we need to do differently in future • And what we need to prioritize . . . • We should work and communicate in a more connected way
  • 7. Better production We need more livestock production to meet global growing food and nutritional needs By 2050, food production will have to double to feed 9.2 billion people, with: • 2.3 times more poultry meat • 1.7 times more other meat, and • 1.6 times more milk than in 2010
  • 8. Imagine that we can . . . Meet the growing demand with fewer ruminants • Marry technological and policy innovations to bring about highly efficient and ecologically sound livestock production • Rapidly increase the productivity of livestock in developing countries • Introducing climate smart breeds and feeds • Reduce the endemic disease burden of livestock • Prevent zoonotic diseases • Prove the predictions on AMR wrong
  • 9. Better nutrition Animal source foods contribute between 30-40% of the world’s protein on a per capita basis…..most of it produced from feed substrates that had no other use. • High concentration of bioavailable nutrients • Most important dietary source of B12, bioavailable iron and preferred vitamin A • Proven contributions to brain, muscle and skeletal development Why then do livestock get such a bad name?
  • 10. Imagine that we can . . . Simultaneously address the double burden of too little consumption of milk, meat and eggs by poorer people and too much consumption of them by richer people
  • 11. Imagine that we can . . . Lower the intolerably high burden of foodborne diseases in lower income countries, in particular
  • 12. We can and must make animal source foods from informal markets safer --as this is the source of most of the food in developing countries--
  • 13. Better environments The issues include the carbon footprint of livestock, land degradation, pollution and nutrient loading, among others. --but the effect on climate cuts both ways-- Increasing livestock production efficiencies will support, but not be sufficient to mitigate the effect on climate change. Much more is needed
  • 14. In addition to vastly increasing productivity, imagine that we can ……. • Spread worldwide regenerative practices that also increase the profitability of (circular) mixed farming systems that feed soils as well as people and animals • Curtail air and water pollution, and nutrient loading generated by intensive production systems while also enhancing animal welfare • Restore vast grazing lands through use of low-cost participatory (community-led) rangeland management that produces judicious grazing and land use planning, captures more carbon, protects more biodiversity and provides pastoralists with more resilience and prosperity
  • 15. Better lives The better lives we’re after include not only the 1.7 billion people whose livelihoods—as producers, processors, transporters or retailers—depend on livestock, and not only the many more billions who consume meat, milk and eggs, but also the vegetarians and others who do not consume livestock- source foods, as well as the lives of the animals that we raise to nourish and sustain through their foods and many inputs to sustainable crop production
  • 16. • Improve both animal and human welfare for better lives • Use livestock in optimal ways to better lives everywhere and in manifold ways • Help families to grow their livestock assets in ways that generate lasting— multi-generational—benefits • Ensure that livestock value chains are inclusive and fair as well as efficient and profitable Imagine that we can . . .
  • 17. Get to the next level on : Empowering women and generating more youth employment
  • 18. Getting to the next level: Liveable and habitable futures?
  • 19. Recognizing the cultural value and contributions
  • 21. Animals for transformation It is immutable that food-producing animals are or could be multi- functioning, multi- functional assets for healthier livelihoods, diets, environments and people—all contributing to sustainable food systems transformation through their essential roles in the ‘four betters’
  • 22. Wealth of opportunities I hope the case is made that the diversity matters • livestock uses and benefits • livestock species and systems • livestock peoples and cultures These provide us with a wealth of avenues for engendering the fairer, safer, healthier and more prosperous world that we all want
  • 23. Some challenges—for each of us here today To help effect these livestock transformations, each one of us is going to have to: • Broaden our dialogues, connecting and delivering in ways we’ve never done before • Engage more, and more effectively, with the non-livestock world • Work across diverse livestock sectors and disciplines, and in both rich and poor countries • Reach consumers as well as producers, and address cultural as well as socioeconomic issues
  • 24. Getting out of our comfort zone With livestock remaining • the most neglected • the most under-funded and • the most misunderstood subsector of agriculture today and with the many ‘polycrises’ demanding the world’s attention, livestock transformation is a tall order What we aspirate to can and must be done ….but only if we communicate more and better
  • 25. Image credits Slide 5: Farm manager by Equity UK Slide 7: Brown Swiss cows by Don Shall Slide 8: A fitbit for cows by Agri Expo Dot Online Slide 14: Cow and sheep by Lollie-Pop Slide 15: Togo family groceries by World Bank Slide 16: Hmong grandmother and child by Rod Waddington Slide 17: Kenya dairy woman with her cow by East African Dairy Development project Slide 18: Cambodian farm couple by WorldBank-Chhor Sokunthea Slide 19: Farm girl with cow (photographer unknown), Indian cook by Steve Evans Slide 22: Cambodian man feeding livestock improved forages by CIAT-NeilPalmer Slide 23: Landsat satellite by NASA Slide 24: Argentinan merino sheep by IFPRI-Milo Mitchell Slide 25: Tanzanian Maasai shop keeper by UN-Women-DeepikaNath All others from ILRI

Editor's Notes

  1. COULD pathogen surveillance be upscaled to cover the most important zoonotic hotspot regions, species and communities? COULD incentives and support for safe handling of meat and milk in the ‘informal’ food markets of low- and middle-income countries be scaled to communities worldwide?
  2. CAN we determine what’s missing in helping hundreds of millions of poor women and young people empower themselves, and better their communities through livestock enterprises? CAN we help them start up profitable livestock businesses—from production to processing to retail, and from backyard to community to commercial enterprises—to meet the rising demand for livestock source foods in the Global South?
  3. CAN we help hundreds of millions of people living in poverty create liveable and habitable futures through livestock? CAN we find ways to increase the benefits livestock generate—via incomes, savings, food, nutrition, health and culture—while decreasing the health and environment harms that livestock can cause?
  4. CAN we transform public understanding of—and support for—the world’s diverse livestock cultures? CAN we help communities to preserve and diffuse their core values via the livestock embedded in their social and cultural, as well as food and economic, lives?